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10 MLB teams valued at $1 billion or more, are the Dodgers to thank?

Oct 25, 2013, 10:00 PM EDT

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Bloomberg published valuations for all 30 Major League Baseball teams, finding that the average value of a team is at $1 billion, 35% higher than previous estimates. The Yankees and Dodgers led the way of course, valued at $3.3 and $2.1 billion, respectively. But eight other teams joined them in the billion-dollar club, including the Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, Giants, Orioles, Angels, Phillies, and Rangers.

Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times suggests that the recent sale of the Dodgers to the Magic Johnson group for $2 billion could be a big reason why teams have seen such an increase in value. Dilbeck quotes Matt Miller, the editor of Bloomberg Billionaires:

[...] the $2-billion Dodgers sale changed everything because it “really showed that you have to value all of the assets when it comes to the teams, you can’t just do revenue from ticket sales, concessions and stadium-type deals and merchandising. Really the driver of this is regional sports networks.”

On the topic of regional sports networks, the Bloomberg article points out that of the ten billion-dollar teams, the Phillies are the only team without a regional sports network. However, they are focusing on a new contract as their current one expires in 2015.

  1. chill1184 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Going to be interesting how Wilpon spins this come March.

    • dondada10 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:18 PM

      They’re gonna spend this off-season. I’m sure of it.

      • paperlions - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        What is in the FA market this year that is worth them spending money on?

        What is the best case scenario of such spending?

        Their 2nd best position player is gone (Byrd) and their 3rd best is probably a league average regular.

        Their best pitcher is gone for the year.

    • paperlions - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      Just because the team is worth money doesn’t mean they have liquid assets or that they suddenly aren’t leveraged to the hilt. They borrowed nearly 100% of the money for everything they bought…and without the Madoff scam, good attendance, a good team, or a good economy….it has made keeping up with the debt challenging, I’m sure….and it’ll probably continue to be a challenge for them.

      • chill1184 - Oct 26, 2013 at 6:21 PM

        Thats pretty much my point and Selig will continue to bail Wilpon out.

  2. NatsLady - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Yeah, well the Nats would be worth more if the Orioles/Angelos weren’t RIPPING THEM OFF with the MASN/TV deal.

    • chill1184 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      Thank Lord Selig for that one, I still can’t for the life of me can see the logic in letting another MLB team have part of the TV revenue of another MBL team.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:44 PM

        It was the price of moving a team into Angelos’ territory. It also inflates the Orioles’ value a bit, since part of their value is based on revenues from televising Nats games.

        As James Wagner of The Washington Post reported, the Nats are #13, at $850 million.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/10/23/nationals-valued-at-830-million-by-bloomberg-ranked-13th/

        A contending season, along with a little more money from the TV deal, might push them into the top 10. At the same time (given the young talent that is in, or headed to, arbitration) the payroll may well break into the top 10.

      • gibbyfan - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:09 PM

        They have to try to maintain some competitive balance to enhnace teh viabilityof the entire leaugue. NFL has similar system andI believe they are the most successful sports orgainization in the country

      • chill1184 - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        @gibbyfan

        I disagree that the salary cap has a huge effect on league competitiveness. There are as many dumb GM’s who make dumb decisions in the NFL as in MLB.

        Part of the NFL’s appeal is that it’s much easier to pay attention to. Games being on three times a week, on a 16 week schedule is simply easier to follow as opposed to a five times a week, 162 game schedule. Also general team turn around is significantly quicker. I personally view football as a year to year sport in which the trope “from worst to first” has a better chance of happening as opposed to baseball. When your drafting in football, 9 out of 10 times that draft pick is on your team on the field on the upcoming season. Baseball draft picks are going to the minor leagues.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        What makes the NFL system work isn’t just the salary cap. It’s also shared TV revenue. Each team gets a cut of revenues from national TV contracts. Thus, there isn’t the big disparity in TV revenues like MLB teams have, and small-market NFL teams have the money to compete for talent.

        The NFL model also has a salary floor. Recall that the Royals were called on the carpet for pocketing luxury tax money, not spending it on talent. Something similar happened with the Cincinnati Bengals; for years, their ownership profited but didn’t try very hard to compete. The NFL collective bargaining agreement requires each team to spend a minimum amount on talent.

        Of course, the money has to be used wisely. That is true no matter the economic system.

      • paperlions - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        What Greg said. It is the financial structure of the league that maintain’s competitive balance, not the salary cap per se. All the salary cap does is ensure that a certain percentage of the profits go to the players (the players (as a group) get the money whether teams spend to the cap or not, which a lot of people seem to not realize), but it does help with competitive balance as well.

        MLB can’t institute a salary cap system like that in the NFL because the financial structure is completely different. The NFL generally works as a single entity to market itself in all media platforms. MLB teams generally compete with each other in that regard with little work done at the league-wide level. In the NFL, the league is the brand….in MLB, each team is a brand.

  3. cabrera24 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Phillies !!!!!!! But sucks you gotta have Comcast to watch their games smh

  4. mannydaman - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    I sure would like to hear PA or DD give us some BS like they have been in years past. About how the O’s are a small to mid-market team! And knowing this, they are not able to go after or spend the money on certain free agents. Funny thing is, looking at the other nine teams listed and their history of spending over, say the last 10 years. They are the so-called big market teams. Well the Cat is outta the bag now boys! Might as well just suck it up and go with it. Make us fans happy! Show us you truly do want a winner again in B-More!

  5. jdillydawg - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Damn Magic. Just pay Mattingly, then, or cut him loose.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      Magic is the public face of ownership. He doesn’t make the decisions.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        And what a face it is.

      • jdillydawg - Nov 5, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        He is one of six partners, so I’m willing to bet he has a lot more sway than just being “the face.” You’re kidding yourself if you think he just shows up at games and looks pretty.

        When I say Magic, of course I mean the owners, but it’s a bit less dramatic if I say “Damn, Guggenheim Baseball Management, just pay him.”

  6. pistolpete0903 - Oct 26, 2013 at 5:13 AM

    All the franchises listed don’t come as a surprise (the Orioles though has my head scratching a bit).
    It has always been about TV money in the last decade or so. Is it a surprise that the NFL is flush with cash? (the networks are paying the NFL close to $4bn dollars/yr)

  7. mrznyc - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Now that we know the price, isn’t there some Samaritan out there who wants to give Fred the billion and lead us out of the darkness.

  8. paperlions - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    People should be careful not to conflate the value of all of the assets owned by a team with annual profits. The Dodger’s weren’t sold for that amount because of the team or even the impending TV deal. They were sold for that amount because the land involved in the deal is really really freaking valuable for developmental purposes.

  9. 2difshoe - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    As a Cub fan, the Cubs worth over a billion, I wouldn’t give them a slug for the team.
    From blaming a goat, a cat and then Bartman for their demise, the entire organization through out the years is a total farce.

    If they can get a free bowl of soup and a hair cut for the team, they should take it.

  10. jimeejohnson - Oct 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Why not blame a goat! It’s never been done. Cubs are an internationally known and a real piece of Americana. They ARE worth a billion or more, even if they can’t win to save their lives.

  11. manhandler1 - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    However, the Dodgers, the Cardinals and the Giants sold the most tickets during the 2013 season. I’m a Giants fan and every home game they play is sold out.

  12. sdeberg - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:29 PM

    I just had to chuckle when I saw the Cubs on this list. A long-time fan – probably a former fan after this last year – they’re certainly getting a bang for their buck. Not. Gotta change from the ground up – including Theo – next year, or everybody needs to be gone.

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